VMware to Hyper-V Virtualization: Migration Case Study

Days after VMworld 2012 ends, Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V 3 virtualization. You can sense a vSphere 5 vs. Hyper-V 3 showdown is coming. And in some cases, the battle has already started.

The VAR Guy

August 8, 2012

4 Min Read
VMware to Hyper-V Virtualization: Migration Case Study


Days after VMworld 2012 ends, Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V 3 virtualization. You can sense a vSphere 5 vs. Hyper-V 3 showdown is coming. And in some cases, the battle has already started. Just ask FyrSoft, a Microsoft solutions provider that migrated Pella Corp. from VMware to Hyper-V. Is this the start of a growing trend?

Before The VAR Guy answers that question let’s take a look at the project.

Pella, a window and door manufacturer, had been a VMware customer since around 2004, and virtualized about 85 percent of its Windows Servers by 2008. Over the years, Microsoft had pitched Hyper-V a few times to Pella. By December 2011, Pella started to believe Hyper-V was finally ready for prime time.

What was the tipping point for Pella? Windows Server 2008 Release 2, the maturing System Center toolset, and an early sneak peek at Windows Server 2012. “Microsoft further closed the gaps and even exceeded VMware in some areas. It was more than a hypervisor discussion. The System Center suite” was also a factor in the decision, according to Pella Director of IT Operations Jim Thomas.

Microsoft Drives Partner Engagement

Microsoft put the proposal on the table, and helped Pella to select FyrSoft — a System Center partner — to consult on the project. From early to mid-2012, FyrSoft helped Pella to virtualize roughly 600 servers on Hyper-V (come to think of it, The VAR Guy needs to double-check — is that 600 virtual or physical servers?).  Generally speaking the vast majority of Pella systems now run on Hyper-V — quoting, order entry, Microsoft.Net, SQL Server databases, application servers — they’re all virtualized. The rare exception is Oracle ERP.

So where is Pella heading next? During the second half of 2012, the company will look at Windows Server 2012 and will also make sure Active Directory is in a current state across all systems. “If I get to the latest Active Directory,  I can leverage services beyond our system and do hybrid cloud out to other services,” said Thomas.

FyrSoft, meanwhile, has been working in the System Center space for about three years. Pella is the company’s largest Hyper-V migration to date, but there have also been smaller projects.

Windows Server 2012, Hyper-V 3

Jeff Skelton, managing partner at FyrSoft, believes Windows Server 2012 with Hyper V 3 will be “a game changer. The current 2008 R2 will meet the needs of most businesses. But 2012 puts Microsoft, hmmm, maybe even a step ahead of VMware.

Skelton expects demand for Hyper-V deployments will grow rapidly as Microsoft ramps up Windows Server 2012 marketing. “Demand is going to be overwhelming,” he said, noting that Microsoft’s Virtual Machine Migration Toolkit is catching on with partners. Using the toolkit, partners can roll back to VMware at any time if there are migration issues — giving customers peace of mind to make the migration.

Now that Windows Server 2012 has a firm general release date in September 2012, FyrSoft is starting to schedule near-term migrations on the new operating system.

A Bigger Trend?

So, are Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V set to disrupt VMware? Hmmm… FyrSoft seems to think so and Microsoft is definitely making progress with virtualization.

But let’s also keep this case study in perspective: The FyrSoft-Pella deployment has become a poster child for Hyper-V. The project was widely promoted at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2012 — a good move, to be sure. But it’s hard to find additional VMware to Hyper-V migration projects of this size. Microsoft needs to prove that scores of customers are making the Hyper-V move.

Meanwhile, VMware is showing no signs of a slowdown. VMware’s most recent quarterly results, announced in July 2012, were strong and showed continued momentum for the company’s cloud and virtualization services. Thousands of partners and customers will rally around VMware later this month at VMworld in San Francisco.

Microsoft will counter a week or so later with Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3. The VAR Guy will be watching to see if more companies like FyrSoft step up and bet their consulting businesses on Microsoft’s virtualization strategy.

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